Social (Distance) Dancing

In April 2020 I wrote a poem inspired by the way that social distancing transformed the act of shopping into a kind of dance, as everyone tried to navigate the aisles and pick items off the shelves without getting too close to anyone else. ‘Social (Distance) Dancing’ is featured in Poetry and Covid, an AHRC-funded project by Nottingham Trent University and the University of Plymouth.

I recorded the poem and created a short video for inclusion on tablets by Dawns i Bawb, a community dance organisation in North Wales. The tablets will be distributed to care homes and hospitals, helping people to continue participating in dance sessions despite social distancing.

In 2022, the poem was quoted in Law, Humanities and the COVID Crisis, edited by Carl F. Stychin and published by University of London Press. In his chapter, titled ‘Walls and bridges: framing lockdown through metaphors of imprisonment and fantasies of escape’, Professor David Gurnham noted “Every verse of the poem reminds us that this ‘dancing’ is not at all an act of free expression, but rather a call for moderation and compliance with social distancing rules.”

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